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A home in Sarasota

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Tony Veldkamp of SVN Commercial Advisory Group has more than 30 years of experience in the Bradenton-Sarasota market. Recently, he was named the 2022 president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee. We caught up with him to get his forecast for the local real estate market in the new year. 

What led to our current hot market?

"A combination of factors, starting with Covid. People thought it was a bad time to sell, creating an initial shortage, and people were also homebound with their families, wanting a bigger home with a yard and pool. Those types of homes got snatched up and it became obvious it was a great time to sell. 

"Plus, you had people moving from states that were in lockdown because Florida had more opportunities to go out and about or build a business. 

"We also had people move here from high-tax states, plus the work from home option. All that formed the perfect storm and the market can't catch up. The demand continues to outstrip supply." 

Will those reasons continue to affect the market through the new year?

"I think they will, because we still live in a beautiful place where people want to live. But economists say things will taper off in 2022. The price increases over the past 18 months aren’t sustainable because people just won’t be able to afford them, so we’ll see more market equilibrium."

Would you say Sarasota and Manatee counties are still relatively affordable compared to other places?

"Yes. Florida has always been a good buy compared to places like California, for example. The issue is the income level is also lower than in many places. Affordability for people who work here is an issue as the market escalates and pushes the need for affordable housing to the forefront."

Should home shoppers wait to buy? 

"No. The sooner the better—[prices] will continue to go up and then level off, but we won’t see pricing come back down. I wouldn’t wait two or three years."

Are there still delays in supply chains affecting the building industry?

"I think a lot of that is working its way out. Some bigger issues are manpower and finding workers, especially if those workers can’t find affordable housing." 

Where are the best deals right now for buying a home?

"Parrish is seeing an explosion of new housing because it is more affordable. North Port, too. I think we’ll see some traditionally sleepier places like Englewood get some new activity soon. A lot of people are taking a second look at areas they would have passed on in the past because they can get more house for their dollar."

What do you see happening with the commercial side of real estate?

"I am a commercial broker, and I see there’s a lot of speculation that offices are dead. But we’re seeing a huge demand for smaller office spaces ranging from 600 to 1,200 square feet. There’s little to no supply in that range, while the larger spaces are having some vacancy issues. Remote workers are looking for a workspace outside the home, or a space for a startup business with a storefront.

"Another trend in commercial real estate is toward more individual shops and businesses as opposed to developers building one large shopping center, as they may have in the past."

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